Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Interesting times....

I really don't go in for talking about current events on the blog. The main reason for this is the fact that I am profoundly out of touch with the outside world. I don't have cable and I don't watch the news. On the rare occasion I miss the news and feel the need to absorb some fearmongering bullshit, I just drop a tab of acid and read a Lovecraft story. There's less pretense that way.

I generally assume that if something really interesting happens, one of my friends will tell me, or it will show up in some of the webcomics I read. In a pinch, I assume I'll simply absorb the knowledge through the aether, have it beamed into my mind with alien space rays, or apprehend it directly through examination of my Socratic soul using the dialectic.

I'm well aware that this isn't the most efficient or comprehensive way to aggregate information. But it still beats the hell out of watching Fox News.

The other reason I don't talk much about the issues on here is that when things are big enough to be interesting, they also tend to be so big that it's hard for me to form easily encapsulated opinions about them.

For example, when there was the big kerfuffle about Google digitizing a shitload of books and thereby egregiously violating international copyright law, I was interested. Anything dealing with intellectual property rights effects me personally and professionally. So I read a bunch of stuff about it, thought some thoughts, and had a few really good conversations with a few of my librarian friends.

The upshot of my research? It's a really complicated issue, and I have mixed feelings about it. Is Google being a bit of a dick and doing morally questionable stuff? Absolutely. But.... Well.... It's more complicated than that.

See? Any blog I wrote on the issue would be nothing more than a long-winded shrug. Not terribly fun to write, and not particularly entertaining to read.

That's my recent take on the current Amazon dealio.

For those of you who haven't heard. Amazon (the bookseller) recently got into a bit of an argument with Macmillan (a book publisher) about e-book pricing. As a result, Amazon pulled all of Macmillan's books off their website. Not just the e-books. All the books.

I've done some research and talked to some people and my conclusion is that.

1. This is a big deal.

2. Amazon is being a bit of a dick, and attempting to bully folks in order to get more of the publishing pie than is really fair.

This feels weird for me to say, because honestly, Amazon has been good to me over the years. They gave me good reviews and really helped promote my book early on. It was really nice.

But it really doesn't matter how good they've been to me in the past. If you're nice to me, then beat up my neighbor for his lunch money, you're still a bully. I'm afraid there's just no way around it.

3. This whole thing is pretty complicated, and I'm not well informed enough make any real intelligent assessment of the overall situation or what it might mean for publishing, DRM, or the future of e-books.

If you're interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check out this blog written by the lovely and talented Charles Stross. He understands the landscape of publishing WAY better than me and does a great job of summing things up.

Amazon, Macmillan: an outsider's guide to the fight.

Here's also a blog from Tobias Buckell that has more technical details. He does some of the math for you and explains what all this really means in a delightfully low-bullshit way.

Link to Buckell's blog.

Here's the public statement from Macmillan too.

I'm bringing this to your attention because if you're like me, you sometimes miss things like this unless someone points them out. Also, I'm guessing most of you kinda like books.

I like books too, and while two companies having a corporate slapfight might seem far removed from the book you pick up, read, and enjoy, the truth is that these corporate manoeuvrings have very real effects on which books get published in the future, their quality, and how well authors get treated in the process.

If anyone else has relevant links they'd like to post in the comments below, please feel free to do so. I'm way too tired to dig up more stuff right now. I've got to go to bed.

We're living in interesting times, folks....

pat

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52 Comments:

Blogger Jon said...

You nailed it, Pat. Amazon's been good to me, too, but as you say, bullies are bullies no matter their history. Cory Doctorow also speaks pretty well on this issue and seems to me more informed than most. Here's a link to one of his early posts on this troubling issue:

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/01/29/amazon-and-macmillan.html

February 3, 2010 7:18 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

John Scalzi has a number of great blog posts on the issue. This one is my favorite:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/02/01/all-the-many-ways-amazon-so-very-failed-the-weekend/

Also, Pat, go to bed! Seriously, it seems like every time I see a new blog post from you, I'm at my work, sitting at the front desk from a way-too-early 4am to 8am shift. No one should be up this early!

February 3, 2010 7:26 AM  
OpenID Bryan said...

I am completely biased on this because I use a Kindle. I am in Iraq and have been for the past year, I also love to read and find I have a lot of time to do so over here. The Kindle makes this possible for me. From my way outside perspective it seems pretty cool to me that Amazon is trying so hard to keep the price of there e-books to 9.99. I mean, 10 dollars seems pretty fair to me, unlike a book you don't get a physical representation of your purchase, you get bits of data that show up as text on your device. Kindle will never replace the book but if you are like me and cant carry around the 100+ books that I have read in the past 6 months the Kindle is a life saver. Ill pay the 15 if it goes there but to me it seems unfair and kind of like price gouging.

February 3, 2010 7:30 AM  
Blogger Jim M. said...

I learned a lot about the publishing industry in college when I couldn't sell back my $120 biology text book because the published came out with a new edition that corrected 5 spelling mistakes.

Maybe Amazon is going too far (several authors seem to think so, which carries a lot of weight in my mind), but I think a slight shakeup of the publishing industry can be a good thing.

February 3, 2010 7:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have good points Bryan, and further, Amazon is one store. They have the right to run their store however they please (within reason) and carry or not carry whom they choose. That might mean losing money on each deal, that might mean losing customers seeking Macmillan-published books, but it's their bed to lie in either way.

February 3, 2010 7:45 AM  
Blogger Llyralei said...

I read about this on John Scalzi's blog.

I feel like Amazon has good intentions... but is going about it the entirely, -entirely- wrong way... which is sadly something that happens a lot.

Also you have the same philosophy on current issues as I do... lol. If it's not on a webcomic or a blog, or one of my friends don't talk to me about it, I just don't know. :P

February 3, 2010 7:54 AM  
Blogger MConrad said...

I know a lot of authors are up in arms about this. It's hard because they are authors I admire and want to succeed. It is definitely hardball on the part of amazon to pull print and paper editions off the market over an ebook dispute. Especially since I'm sure revenue from those p&p books still far out paces ebooks.

That said, in my opinion ebooks are the future. Amazon has this idea that they can sell a bunch of kindles if they can cap ebook pricing at $9.99. That's probably a good idea, but now they have to make sure they squeeze the publishers into that little box so they can still make their margins on the ebooks and that's where it gets tricky.

Ultimately, I don't see this working out much in the long term for Amazon or Kindle. I know Kindle was a hot item this Christmas but most of the people I know that got one are more if the Janet Evanovich/John Grisham crowd. I personally picked the Sony eReader Touch because I liked that it supports multiple formats and felt like more of the types of books I like to read would be available that way. And since Amazon just yanked TOR off the "shelves", it looks like I was right :)

The second wave ereaders is starting to hit the market. With Apple and other start ups wading in (have you seen the eDGe Entourage????) I doubt that Amazon, not a device maker by trade, can keep up with rapid fire advancements from tech giants like Apple and Sony, but I guess we'll find out!!!

February 3, 2010 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Ellie said...

Here's a good post about it on Scott Westerfield's blog as well:
http://scottwesterfeld.com/blog/?p=2138

February 3, 2010 8:12 AM  
Blogger DamionFury said...

You've probably seen this, but the argument has already been decided.

Amazon gave in to MacMillan's demands and HarperCollins' CEO Rupert Murdoch has heavily hinted that a renegotiation with Amazon is forthcoming [Read here]

So it seems that Apple's bookstore offering is breaking Amazon's back on this one. To be honest, though, it's kinda scary that simply having Apple announce that it's getting into the industry is enough to force Amazon to back down. I mean, Apple isn't even selling books yet, they're just making deals. Oh, it's nice as long as Apple wields that power properly, but what happens if they don't? People won't just stop using iTunes. It's become an addition.

February 3, 2010 8:18 AM  
Blogger Kelmar said...

Hey, um, Pat?

This here below...

"We're living in interesting times, folks...."

That's a Chinese curse right? Did you just curse us in Chinese using English?

February 3, 2010 8:28 AM  
Blogger DamionFury said...

Actually, I think he told us we were already cursed. As I understand it, to curse us he would have said "May you live in interesting times."

February 3, 2010 8:30 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

I'm reading The Name of the Wind as an ebook on my new Nook right now!

February 3, 2010 9:07 AM  
Blogger Amanda said...

First off, I love that you tagged "a few words that you're probably going to have to look up," for this entry. It made me laugh.

Also... this is way more deep than I thought it was. I get 90% of my news from John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, the other 10% from my boyfriend since he sometimes actually cares enough to pay attention. I'd be pretty mad too... this is insane...

February 3, 2010 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somehow I see this as a first sign for a future oligopoly. It cannot be a positive development, when a few big industries determine the better part of the publishing landscape.
I like Amazon and I use it a lot, but it keeps me thinking, though.

February 3, 2010 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Erisian23 said...

Mongo over at http://felblood.com/ turned me on to your page. i look forward to reading your book

adding your page to my RSS :)
~~~~

great write up/an interesting read. am on the fence on this whole matter, but i think we read different web comics as i am actively searching the details out.



other interesting resources, check out Jim Henley's post regarding some deep numbers.
http://highclearing.com/index.php/archives/2010/01/30/10632

westerfeld's blog (as listed above) was a nice bit'o'insight

February 3, 2010 10:08 AM  
Blogger Bekki said...

Nathan Bransford (a literary agent in SF) has some interesting posts on this here (laying out the whole issue in plain English) and here (discussing what an e-book should cost).

February 3, 2010 10:12 AM  
Blogger Nazarea said...

I've been following this religiously. (I guess I'm the only one who likes to be informed. But really, just on stuff that effects me and this does)

My book is--at the moment--only avaliable on Amazon. And with this stunt, they've pissed off a lot of authors, publishers, and readers. A lot of customers are leaving. THAT will effect me.


I personally don't like e-books. I'd rather have something to shove in my purse with pages then another technical gizmo to keep up with. I do get why some people (like Bryan) love them, and if I were in Iraq, I'd probably feel the same way. But Amazon is operating under the thought that since they were the first, and are still the largest, they can dictate terms.

Should they have backed down under pressure so soon after Apple announced the iPad? I don't know. The fact is, though, that Apple has changed things with every device they release. Why should e-books and e-readers be different? For that matter, much as you may like a 10 dollar book, why the heck should that be the cap? As a writer--albeit a new one--I don't mind the five dollar difference. A lot goes into publishing a book then most people think, and this isn't about big bad Mcmillian being all about the money and screw the little readers. Nor is it all about Amazon being 'lets save the little guy a few bucks'. It's about buisness. Mcmillian is within their rights (and actually they intend on having a sliding price range, e-books coming out at 15and eventually dropping to about 5)

Did Amazon have to give in? No. But with the Nook and iPad emerging, if Amazon and Kindle want to stay competitive, they'll have to stop being so stubborn.

February 3, 2010 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off, reading Lovecraft IS equivalent to doing Acid. Doing both is redundant.
Secondly, I agree about the news, if only because we're being spoon fed little packaged bites of sound. But whether to ignore and employ "ignorance is bliss" or Fight Back? Aye, there's the rub.

February 3, 2010 11:06 AM  
Blogger Martin Seeger said...

Hi Pat,

first of all i have to mention that i am addicted to reading.

This was already a problem as a youth: Once i was ill my aunt gave me five books as a gift. The next morning i called her and asked for more. In a hindsight, this is really embarrassing.

But once i started earning good money, this problem has multiplied. I am running out of shelf space. With my marriage i gave away about 1.000 books to friends just to have a little space for my wifes books.

So started with ebooks as a measure
of self defence. I started with the
Iliad Irex about 3-4 years ago.
Since then i purchased several hundred ebooks. The good thing is: i drive on vacation without any fear of running out of input.

Therefor i am very interested in everything that concerns costs of books.

I totally hate any kind of DRM. Since i started i went through several different reader. Any restriction to move a book with me feels like theft. This one reason my favorite publisher is Baen. They have the most honest approach towards the reader. I think Eric Flints Introducing the Baen Free Library gives the best summary on that topic ever written.

I also worked as author, editor and publisher for books (on a very small scale). Therefor i know how much money is in the production (very little) and distribution (a lot) process and how little ends up with the authors. So i think that ebooks will greatly improve the percentage an author will get from the book sales (but not the overall revenue).

Current contracts give authors a certain percentage of all revenue. So it is in the interest of publishers and authors to get the prices as high as possible. But while the publishers still get the same share, they do a lot less for the sale of an ebook than for one of a paperback.

So at this point customers are on the side of Amazon, that an ebook should cost significantly less than a paper based book.

Currently the frontlines run between Amazon and the customers on one side and publishers and authors on the other. But the authors are not on that side due to their own interest but due to the current publishing system. I don't think that this situation will remain static. The publishers are bound to loose the authors as allies and then the fight next.

Sincerely yours, Martin

P.S. I do believe that publishers do provide usefull work. But they want to preserve a status quo that has outlived itself.

February 3, 2010 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offense to anyone here but fuck amazon, they have always been dicks and in my opinion they always will be.

I had purchased some stuff from them in 2001, they asked at the time of the order if we wanted to keep our credit card on file for future purchases, being computer savvy not only did I say no but hell no and clicked the box that indicated that I did not want my card on file with them. My wife and I both remember it well as we were both clustered around the pc monitor excited about our amazon purchase, and it was the first time we had purchased from amazon and had heard good things.

About nine months later my wife was going over our credit card statement and lo and behold there is a significant purchase (over $400) to someone we didnt know through amazon. We talked to the credit card company to make sure there had been no other wonky activity.

We quickly determined that amazon had not only kept the credit card on file but had used it for someone else's purchase. We told the credit card company to dispute it and get that charge off of our account, we had proof in the form of printed invoices and such, plus my wife is a meticulous record keeper.

The funny part is my wife called amazon to correct the mistake and give them grief while I was in the restroom when I came back out she handed the phone to me because the amazon tool bag on the phone wanted to indirectly accuse me of buying stuff behind my wifes back. So as he handed me the phone and thinking that it was still the bank I told her "just tell them those ass hat rip off artists at amazon are trying to rip us off."

My wife quickly covered the mouth piece and said, "um, its the ass hat rip off artists, not the bank."

Needless to say the amazon rep didn't want to talk to me nor I him.

February 3, 2010 11:42 AM  
Blogger Athena said...

"But it really doesn't matter how good they've been to me in the past. If you're nice to me, then beat up my neighbor for his lunch money, you're still a bully. I'm afraid there's just no way around it."
All I have to say is AMEN to that!

February 3, 2010 12:27 PM  
OpenID thelemonkiller said...

Dear Pat,

As a brother in Whedon I feel it is my duty to bring to your attention to series Caprica. I've never seen BSG (which it is a prequel to) -- but I love Caprica wholeheartedly. So far, the storytelling is magnificent, the score is gorgeous, and it's just a ridiculously good show!

February 3, 2010 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that if you check the amazon.com page for Pat it has his blog and of course including this one talking about Amazon being bullies.

February 3, 2010 4:49 PM  
Blogger John said...

I find it odd that Macmillan thinks they have any right to tell Amazon what Amazon can charge for their products.

It is as if I sold you a car and demanded that if you sell the car to someone else, that you must charge at least $15K.

Macmillan is out of line. I can understand Amazon getting pissed off and over-reacting. Not that I like it, but I can understand it. I'd be pissed off, too.

February 3, 2010 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

f*** Amazon. The publisher can't be expected to lose money on their product (which they often do, via ebooks) just so Amazon can rope more people into the Kindle before all the big-boy-tech-firms make it obsolete (like it *should* be already).

If publishing goes the way of music, we're all screwed. Sure your ebook will be very cheap ($1 on itunes!) or even free (piratebay!), but damn you'll have to wade through a whole lot of terribly fan-fiction before you find any thing worthwhile.

I hate ebooks.

February 3, 2010 7:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to side with Amazon on this Pat. I agree that what they did was harsh but the publishing industry needs a wake up call.

Ebooks piracy is pretty prevalent on the web. With just a click of the mouse you can get almost every book you want for free, including yours Pat. Pricing them at $15 each with DRM is suicidal in this global world we're living in. Also DRM doesn't work, they just annoy paying customers and encourage piracy.

February 3, 2010 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Kitty said...

"But it still beats the hell out of watching Fox News."

Pat, I really admire you, and I think you're a phenomenal writer, and I've recommended your book to pretty much anyone who will listen to me for long enough - but must you really jump on the Fox-News-bashing bandwagon?

February 3, 2010 9:34 PM  
Anonymous Remo said...

Although it's more complicated than this, I find it hard to call Amazon a "bully" when they're trying to keep the price of e-books down.

E-books are expensive for what they are. The music industry has come to something like a stasis (after years of piracy free-fall) by providing more reasonably priced legitimate offerings. I think publishers will eventually have to do the same, although the situation is significantly more complicated than music, since the e-readers are constantly improving and becoming more and more like real books.

There are two facts that seem inescapable to me:

1. There is a vast infrastructure of publishing (authors, editors, readers, executives, designers, type-setters, photographers, advertisers, promoters) that has to be paid for, regardless of whether the final product is physical or digital.

2. Digital books cost the publisher significantly less to create and distribute.

Should e-books cost two dollars? Of course not, see 1. Should they cost as much as real books? Absolutely not.

February 3, 2010 9:58 PM  
Blogger Psychoidiot said...

Er, Amazon is losing money currently at the $9.99 pricepoint but they don't care because they want to sell Kindles. No skin off MacMillian back, but MacMillian thinks that this cannabilizes their hardback sales(maybe maybe not), so they want to set high price points for their ebooks. Now MacMillian is forcing Amazon to sell at the $15 pricepoint, thus earning actually Amazon more profit per book and mayhap earning less for the author side? fuzzy on the math, something about it's being based on the hardback price and if the price is lower than $21 the author does better and if it's higher the author does worse, dearauthor.com post over there.


Now it's not cool that Amazon is tried to force the publisher's hand by hurting its authors, but they're fully in their rights to do so(they caved anyway).

Amazon wasn't trying to make the publisher lose money,(which some posters are suggesting) but rather not let the publisher have the pricing flexibility and power. It just so happens that what ebook consumers want is what Amazon wants, so it want to be hoity toity with it's let the customer decide thing.

The best way would have been *Shrug* let the Kindle people figure out what they want to pay, which is what they ended up doing without the whole no buy button thing.

February 3, 2010 10:11 PM  
Blogger franti said...

am I the only one who noticed that he posted a flight of the conchords song? because that was awesome.

February 3, 2010 10:31 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

So you admit that you're uninformed about news but still have to insult Fox News in some way. That actually makes a lot of sense...the only people who jump on the liberal fox hating bandwagon are the people who really don't know whats going on.

February 3, 2010 11:03 PM  
Anonymous Nate said...

That's right, Michael. Fox news is the most objective news station on cable TV. Their lineup of Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, not to mention Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Karl Rove, Alex Castellanos and Dana Perino as paid commentators is certainly the best, most objective team you can find. And they have never ever ever been caught making sh*t up. Not ever.

/snark

No one in the reality-based community relies on Fox news for information. It's a joke. For that matter, no one in the reality-based community relies on the television for information. Fox is just some strange carnival of right-wing delusion, (a fact openly acknowledged by its producers and easily provable) that its to look away, especially when its sycophants actually buy the "fair and balanced" line which must be giving Mr. Barnum a good chuckle somewhere.

February 4, 2010 12:05 AM  
Anonymous Travis said...

I have a Kindle. I buy books on it and pay as much as I'd expect to pay for the normal book, be it $5 or $15. Why should it be cheaper just because it is on an ereader, it is the exact same book with the exact same words, regardless of the format in which you read it. The kindle is handy. The only time I'm annoyed is when I can get the paperback copy of a book for 7.99 and the ebook is $10. That doesn't make much sense to me. I don't know too much about how edocuments work, but how is it cheaper to make a physical book and sell it to me than to download a computer document to my kindle?

February 4, 2010 1:52 AM  
Blogger Martin Seeger said...

Hi,

Travis wrote: "Why should it be cheaper just because it is on an ereader, it is the exact same book with the exact same words, regardless of the format in which you read it."

It is not the same service. With a paper based book, they have to print it, ship it through the world, provide shelf space in the bookstore, pay the cashier guy,...

The transport of an ebook is by a factor 1.000 cheaper than a paper book, the cashier is fully automated, it does not take shelf space,....

If the producer has less costs, the product should become cheaper.

Where i agree: The author provides the same service, so he/she should get the same amount as before.

Who works less is the publisher and the bookstore. They should get less for an ebook.

The problem is the typical contract between author and publisher. Usually there is a certain fix percentage of the revenue (no matter wether ebook or paper book) designated for the author.

While the percantage of an author at a book is around 10-15%, it should be higher (e.g. 30%) for ebooks. Of course the publishers are not in favor....

Publishers dislike ebooks not just due to the prices. If ebooks become too popular, the need for publishers is decreasing. An author could go just directly to Amazon without the help of publisher. Currently an ebook will not sell very well if there is no paper book to create demand. But this will change. The publishers (like the RIAA before them) wants to fight it. But they will have as much success as fighting entropy....

Personally i am totally in favor of the development. The service i am interested in is someone like Pat writing fascinating novels. I am also willing to pay for the editor and the distribution. But i am not interested in trees getting chopped down and trucks blowing carbon dioxide into the air while carrying harcovers.

CU, Martin

February 4, 2010 2:38 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

Please don't bother trying to defend Fox News, folks. I know your hearts are in the right place, but all it does is make me sad for you...

February 4, 2010 3:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

In my opinion,

Fox is for conservatives, Republicans, and other forms of right-wingers.

Most of the other news stations are for liberals, democrats, and various forms of left-wingers.

It seems to me that both sides of media fear-monger, sensationalize, and pander to their side.

I know this is your blog with your opinions but I find it interesting when people have a strong derogatory opinion of Fox news and its viewers (some of whom are your fans too).

I am not attacking you in any way. I respect your writing, opinions, and intelligence.

I love the way you think and write about things and I would just be interested in a more in depth look into your views/thinking on this subject.

I hope you will reply, I am not looking for an argument just a logic based expansion of your views. Thanks, Eric.

February 4, 2010 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Tammy said...

I do not think anyone would support a publisher telling a retailer they can not mark-down/offer a discount on paperback or hardback books, right? So why should it be any different for ebooks?

And that is exactly what this boils down to. Macmillan is telling Amazon that Amazon can not set the final price to the consumer. Just as Macmillan has every right to determine at what price they will sell to Amazon, Amazon should be able to determine what price they will sell to the consumer.

I also think so many are overlooking that what Amazon pays the publisher (and thus what the author gets) has absolutely nothing to do with the price Amazon sells the book for. Whether Amazon sets no discoumt or a 50% discount, the amount the publisher gets is the same (since that is based on the publishers list price). In fact, Amazon offering a discount is good for the publishers and authors since it generally results in more sales.

February 4, 2010 8:36 AM  
Blogger mountie9 said...

Very well put! Now I am off to find your books

February 4, 2010 8:59 AM  
Blogger Elethiomel said...

I will never buy an e-book-reader tied to a specific store, for much this reason. Stores pulling publishers' (or authors') books because of some disagreement would make my investment basically worthless. I'll rather buy a generic e-book-reader and buy from someone like Baen who sells DRM-free books once they're in the "bargain" category.

E-books have less overhead than print books. Sure, they have much the same overhead in design, typesetting, editing... but they have no overhead whatsoever in printing (no ink, paper, binding) and extremely little in shipping. They should be cheaper than print books, and there should be a rather larger percentage of the sales price going to the author because of this lack of overhead. Right now publishers are wary of this because e-books have such a low market share... but if e-books are available for cheaper than other books, this market share can only increase faster.

Anyway, as to amazon bullying, they have:
- Published books in their print-on-demand store without compensating the author who owned the rights to said book (their publisher had delisted them because the author had gotten a deal with a different publisher).
- When delisting books have deleted them from customers' Kindles (and refunded them) without warning, and taking any notes the user had scribbled in the margins and so with the book. Said notes was a selling point of the Kindle, and the customers' intellectual property.
- Delisted books with homosexual main characters or that concerned homosexuality.

They always do these things without warning, without explanation, and without acknowledgement when customers ask them questions about it. I no longer shop at Amazon.

February 4, 2010 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who makes below a certain income in the United States should stay away from Fox News. Lets say for posterity sake you make less than $250,000 per year, stay away from those douche bags because they are laughing at you.

Not to say that left wingers dont laugh at their supporters too, because they obviously do, just conservatives are more blatant about it. Sean Hannity thinks he is better than you, you can see it in his mannerisms, he is laughing at you if you watch his show and barely containing it on air. You are just numbers for them, statistics that can be exploited.

I say this also because the proof is in the pudding, conservatives only care about keeping the rich in more of your $$$. The democrats and liberals do this to obut they at least try to help the public and the little guy with socialized programs to help people they just dont have a clue on how to implement those programs without government corruption (i.e. California State legislature). But still at least SOME liberals try to help the little guy despite their incompetence.

Conservatives are just plain corrupt and dont care about the little guy, if you want proof investigate for yourself the state of the VA hospital program and see how the republicans have treated our VETS.

February 4, 2010 10:10 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I bought your book on my kindle and found it using only my kindle. I love that little bugger and the price point of the ebooks is one of the main reasons why I bought it.

From everything I have read on this matter, which is limited for sure, it seems that even the authors don't know who is wrong in this. This is all way too in depth and we will never fully understand what is going on. Whether people want to admit it of not, Amazon has done a lot of the consumer. What they have done for the publishers/authors I don't know.

And bashing Fox News in particular and not mentening all of the other crap stations is uncalled for. They all suck equally.

The only news worth hearing about comes from The Onion. =]

February 4, 2010 10:44 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Question. If I, having bought your book, were to download a digitalised version of your book, not paying for it - skuld that make me a bit of a dick?

I have not done this, just ro be clear on that point, but i do use my iPhone as an e-book reader from time to time, and wanting to read your book again that would be a Nice option.

I'm somewhat conflicted on the issue, as it is practical, but at the same time I would be using what is mostly an illegal channel. And I am at most times what might be considered 'lawfull good".

On the other hand I wouldn't feel I was doing anything wrong should I personally copy down the whole book for my own use. That's not going to happen though.

So, any oppinions on the issue? Pat, hos would you feeling about fans doing this with your book?

February 4, 2010 11:40 AM  
Blogger fergusons blog said...

An interesting take on this at huffpost:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonce-gaiter/amazon-to-e-book-publishe_b_446205.html


Dan

February 4, 2010 12:39 PM  
Blogger Wafaa said...

As an outsider's viewpoint, it seems pretty logical to me that setting the price of a product is a right reserved by the producer of this product. Whether the product is worth the price they set, is something to be determined by the free market and supply and demand.
On the other hand, Amazon is perfectly free to choose what to sell.

Either way, I personally make an effort to stay away from products with proprietary software, and pick ones without.

February 4, 2010 5:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

@Wafaa:

I think it is clear that the price should be determined by the OWNER of the item, not necessarily the producer.

If Amazon pays Macmillan their asking price for the ebooks (which Macmillan rightly gets to set as long as they own them), then Amazon should be the new owner and have the right to determine at what price they want to sell them.

February 4, 2010 8:56 PM  
Anonymous Hannah said...

I just cant believe the price of university text books! I payed $150 for my textbook last year, wasn't even allow to cite or reference it in my report, and couldn't sell it back the next year because... get this right... there was a new cover :|

In a way I think publishing companies do need a bit of a shake up, but it sucks how authors have to deal with the ripple effect after. Not to mention what's the dealio with this iPAD thingy? For some reason I'm against it but don't really know why. Can anyone provide me with the pros and cons of this iPAD device so I can properly formulate an opinion? lol

February 4, 2010 9:35 PM  
Blogger Selenio said...

Fred Hicks (RPGs publisher and interesting person) has some interesting words about this Amazon/McMillan affair written in his Deadly Fredly blog.

My particular thinking is that e-books should cost about the same price as a paperback. 50% of the hardback edition tops. At least this is what my logic dictates. Obviously I'm no publisher and I don't have the required knowledges and information to make a statement about it.

But that said, it's obvious that what Amazon can't do is what it has done. Specially the way it has done it.

I believe this is one of those cases in which both contenders are right and at the same time none of them are.

Selenio.

February 5, 2010 3:23 AM  
Blogger Dudley Dawson said...

Hey! Cthulhu isn't fear-mongering bullshit!

Though he is, probably, the only thing in the world that's more representative of cosmic evil than Fox News.

February 5, 2010 10:18 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

Pat, I know YOUR heart is in the right place, but it makes me cringe every time you speak of politics. Every station leans a certain way...Fox News and CNN are the most neural, with each leaning either way. NBC, on the other hand, is a joke. I know it's easy to take the common route and try to act "cool" by making fun of Fox, but if you actually were informed(which you already said you weren't), you would see things differently.

February 9, 2010 2:06 AM  
Anonymous Jessi said...

Dear Patrick, (can i call you Patrick or do you prefer Pat? hmm one to ponder...)

Anyway Dear......(please insert preferred name here)
My name is Jessi, I live in New Zealand, and I basically just wanted to comment on the fantastically entertaining (and informative) blog that you have created.
I didn't realize that there was going to be a sequel (until today when I read your Blog) and was just happy to walk away from the great book you gave us.

So basically after waffling (mmm waffles)on about nothing to you when I'm sure you have better things to do I just wanted to express my gratitude to you for deciding that you give enough of a crap to write a second AMAZING book!!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you,

good luck with the editing (i helped on a New Zealand Novel recently, so I can appreciate how much work you're doing right now)

Have a fantastic February 28!

From your now adoring Fan,

Jessi Reilly,
New Zealand

February 27, 2010 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pat is there still a possiblility that people could get name in the book cause I just found your web a few 2 weeks ago but i would have loved to get my name or a name i made up in your book as a possiblity. Even though you've got most of it done.

February 27, 2010 9:46 PM  
Anonymous asiah said...

pat my name is asiah and have commented on different spots on your blog but I've meant to do it here.

I am 11yrs old girl in australia my brother and I have read it my dad is going to read it and I just wanted to say we both can't wait to read the next book but take your time cause a master piece takes time!!!!


I also agree with anonymous is there any possible way we could get a name made by us or a name of ours in the book even though the draws fin cause I just found your book this year and read it on the holidays but I wish I found it sooner for the draw!!!!

So is it possible???

From Asiah Cahntelle Hatcher I ♥ The Name of the Wind ☺ ☺ ☺ ☻ ☻ ☻

P.s you pronounce my name like the continent Asia but with a sighlent (h).

February 27, 2010 9:54 PM  

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